Bell Operating Company

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What Does Bell Operating Company Mean?

A Bell operating company (BOC) is any one of a group of 22 original local telephone companies that existed prior to 1984 after AT&T was divided up in 1983. Each BOC was given the right to provide local telephone service in a given geographic areas. The companies initially existed as AT&T subsidiaries and were called the Bell System. AT&T divested them to improve competition. The BOCs are not allowed to manufacture equipment and initially were not allowed to provide long-distance service.

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The Unix operating system was developed by AT&T and the antitrust lawsuit that split up the company allowed AT&T to bring Unix to the market.

Techopedia Explains Bell Operating Company

Bell operating companies referred to all the telephone companies owned by American Telephone & Telegraph prior to the United States vs. AT&T, a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust suit.

Bell operating companies arose from the United State vs. versus AT&T, a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust suit against the former American Telephone & Telegraph Company. The 22 BOCs were split into seven regional Bell operating companies (RBOC) known as "Baby Bells." This group later consolidated into three companies: Qwest, AT&T and Verizon.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.